Boyfriend was on his way home from a week-long hunting trip to Montana with his Dad. I called him to tell him what was going on, and would let him know if I would need the vet. Tears started streaming down my face as I worried for Milo and what I might see when I got there. The boarder that phoned me sounded concerned and a little shaken on her end of the telephone, and I could only imagine how bad the cut might be. I wondered how I would get Milo to the vet with Boyfriend not being available and my truck unable to haul a trailer. I made a few plans in my head, but didnt phone my friends unless I knew I would need a ride.
I flew into the barn like a bat out of hell and raced towards Milo's stall. He stood placidly in his paddock, but met me at the stall door, probably knowing that Mom was now here to help him. My heart sank when I saw all the blood on his face that had dripped from the wound. As I got a closer look at him, I was relived to see that the cut wasnt as large or horrid as I was imagining. I led him to the wash rack and began to slowly clean the cut and dried blood. Before treating with any disinfectant, I phoned the vet, describing the cut to his assistant who said she would have my vet call me back.
In the meantime, I closed off Milo's exit door and tossed a few flakes of hay for him to keep him occupied and safe while I waited for the vet to call. I then walked the fenceline in his paddock and turnout pasture. I was furious with myself and the situation, especially guilty that today was the first day I allowed him back on turnout. Milo has also been ailed by a intermittent swelling in his left rear fetlock region since the prevous Thursday. Daily I had been cold hosing the area, and laying my hands on it and the other to compare the differences.
Initially when I first noticed the swelling it was only because he stepped funny as I led him from his pasture. I wondered, as I continued to watch him walk soundly, if he had simply mis-stepped on a rock or something. But I walked him up and down the concrete and noticed when he turned over that leg that he was a little tender on it. I reached down and felt no heat, but did note some minor swelling. As the days unfolded since then the swelling either increased or decreased, but never seemed to cause heat or lameness even after I shortly lunged him at a walk and trot and tried a flexion-test that the vet always uses. He always seemed to come out sound. But why the swelling?
To avoid making anything worse I not only wasnt riding him, but also requested to keep him in his stall and paddock only, no turnout, and play the cautious "wait-and-see" route. When confinement only seemed to cause some "stocking up" I decided to try turnout and see if that would help at all. Still concerned it might exacerbate the problem, I tried it anyway since confinement hadnt solved any problems.
Here I was now on the first day I allowed turnout again and now my horse sustained an icky cut on his face. Was it from a fenceline in the turnout? Or maybe the stall or paddock? Either way, I was upset that maybe my allowing the pasture time might have caused the problem. I searched the fencelines.
Although I didnt find any sort of obvious bloody stain or hair loss on fences or the two stumps in the pasture, I was now pretty upset by all the exposed nail heads I saw. But then the vet called.
He requested I send a photo to him of the cut, which I did, then we discussed what should be done about it. Because there was no "extra skin" or skin flap around the cut site, stitches werent really an option. But also for the fact that the cut was not down to the bone or effecting any nerves or serious tissue, my vet thought it wasnt entirely necessary to come out or make an appointment. He did advise, however, that if I noticed nasal discharging, ooze from the injury site, or any increased swelling, to phone him. I then asked him what of the swelling in his fetlock, but naturally without seeing or putting his hands on the leg he couldnt diagnose anything over the phone. He did agree though that if I was playing the conservative route that cold hosing, exercise, and limited moving would be a good option to try, for it it was something like minor tendinitis that would be the first treatment route. I asked if walking him down the road for ten minutes and looking for any change would be reasonable, which he agreed to. I didnt exactly feel better, but at least it seemed I was doing the right thing.
I called by Boyfriend and told him the news, and he suggested that when we get back from our trip if the swelling hasnt subsided that we would take Milo into the vet, and he could then check on the progress of the cut at the same time. I agreed that that would be a good idea.
Oh yeah, did I mention that tomorrow we are leaving for Mule Deer hunting on the other side of the Cascades for five days? Of course something like this happened right before I left somewhere and would now need to employ a friend to clean the wound, cold hose his leg, feed nightly, clean his stall, and take my big dog for a walk down the road.
My vet recommended rinsing the cut daily with water, then disinfecting with Batadine solution, then treating with anitbiotic Neosporin before putting him back in his stall. Stall confinement was the best option to ensure minimal infection opportunity, and with the leg swelling too might be a better route. However, as stated before, that now would pose the issue of more responsibility needing to be given to a friend to take over while I'm gone. Not only will that require more stall cleaning and bedding (which is no problem for me, but I am pretty anal about pee spots and not with him staying in there for a whole week, requires some diligent cleaning I am hoping my friend will provide), but Milo might just turn into a really stir crazy butt for whoever handles him. I hope that the short walk might help calm his mind while hopefully helping the leg, but am worried about his behavior with someone else.
Let me just say, a few pages of details notes and instructions will be left with the caregiver, and hopefully everything goes smoothly. For now, I cant do much, but I do know that when Boyfriend and I return I will be putting some serious consideration into what I can do about the fenceline I have now discovered is really lacking in structure and safety, and deciding if I need to take the next step and haul out to the vet. Oh joyous vacation coming up that will now be wrought with worry.
|Poor Baby. Day Two of treatment, Milo being patient when cold hosing|
Milo keeps some humor though despite his cut and stall prison.